Ou sont les neiges d’antan

Quote from some unknown person that struck a nerve at the time read

When did the userbase of linux go so wrong? When did it start? Those of us that have been around for quite a while have watched the rockstar rise and subsequent plummet in the communities surrounding it. 10+ years ago you could jump into IRC type /join #[your distro] and be surrounded by people that truly loved their systems and would help you without being condescending, resorting to ad hominem attacks, or calling other *nix variants crap. A lot of those guys, myself included, were using Solaris, HP-UX, Tru64, AIX, etc. during the day and spending some of our evenings just helping out others that were interested in or ‘testing the water’ with linux. The slackware community was great. Even a little more recently when Gentoo first really got rolling between 1.0 and 1.2 the community on EFNET in #gentoo was a shining example of what a userbase should be. I spent many an hour in there helping people figure out their CFLAGS, configuring their XF86Config, and the like.

With the influx of more and more folks that seem to be vastly more focused on hating Windows, Mac OSX, and even other UNIX variants, the face of linux has changed. People that used to use *NIX as a personal choice did so because they truly loved computers. Now it seems to be the equivalent of a battle standard. Your Operating System is your country, your flag, and your religion. Thousands of angry people focused on their hatred of anything that is unlike themselves. It’s GNU/Xenophobia.

The programming ramifications of this have become pervasive throughout many of the more popular distributions. In fact, the fundamental idea of the ideological Bazaar has been replaced by the Cathedral of intolerance. Instead of a focus on excellence and listening to the end-users, more and more developers are dismissive and prone to flame. More time is spent developing completely worthless and unrelated ‘features’ than in solidifying and optimizing the current code. Instead of, say fixing GNOME’s inability to remember where I want my launch icons on the panel, we get wobbly windows that add absolutely nothing to the value of the desktop. Instead of writing just one really, really good IDE for C development, we get oodles of feature-incomplete environments that can’t even compete with older Visual Studios or XCode; and this is supposed to be forte of *NIX. As children we are reinforced to eat our meat and vegetables before we get dessert. Yet more and more developers focus on the candy and leave the meat (optimizing) and vegetables (squashing bugs) virtually untouched. It’s not as exciting of course, but it is necessary. In *buntu I struggle with yet another audio layer to cover the other layers to figure out why my sound card is doing a darn good impression of a french mime when I try to play some music. Meanwhile, a thousand fanboys upload yet another Youtube video of a spinning desktop cube with a Moby soundtrack.

Perhaps it is the fate of those of us from the previous generation to make way for the new one, but as we do so there should be some guidance, some hope, and some direction given.

Bad Behavior has blocked 631 access attempts in the last 7 days.